Success is What You Make It
When you think of success who do you think about? The first thing that comes to mind to me is someone sailing on a yacht on the New England coastline, looking out on to the ocean from the bow with your close friends. Though that's not my true idea of success, it's still my mentally constructed view of success.
And, I'm not even the type of person who would enjoy having that type of lifestyle, yet that idea of someone sailing is a picture of ultimate success to me. What that tells me is that success is not an actual tangible place. Success is an idea that we can create, and that idea may be feasible or it may be far from your reach.
My true idea of success is honestly someone who has simply accomplished something in life that they set out to accomplish. Recently I was in a conversation with a close friend who was telling me about her life as a mom, and it hit me suddenly as she was talking about her son, that she has a relationship with someone who she has known for their entire life from conception to now. When I began to wrap my head around that thought I was amazed. To have the opportunity to experience that type of relationship is amazing. The relationship of a mother and her child is beautiful. To me if she never accomplished anything else in her life, I would respect her as a successful person. Because she's done something I've never done, which is parent a child.
I once heard Denzel Washington make a very inspirational statement about how to be successful and accomplish your goals when he lectured actors in an acting class. He said...
"Dreams without goals, will remain dreams, and they will ultimately fuel disappointment. Goals are made before you reach Achievements, and cannot be achieved without Discipline and Consistency."
I believe that what he said is true, but what he lacked to mention was Opportunity. I remember hearing former President Bill Clinton say (in summary) that he's traveled around the world and there are intelligent, optimistic, talented, hard-working people all over the world, but what is lacking is opportunity. There are so many people who don't have the opportunity to pursue their dreams or be what our culture labels as successful, and will ultimately be disappointed. This is why we have to create our own ideas and definition of what success means.
There are so many books on how to be successful. People have written their opinions on topics ranging from how to make money, start businesses, pursue happiness, and more. Their opinions though intelligently written may help some, but they by no means can help everyone, because everyone has a different life with different goals and dreams. In my opinion, to achieve success you first need to be specific about what you want out of life. In order to maximize your potential for accomplishing those wants/dreams/desires you need to be honest with yourself, recognizing your strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and desires. All of this is necessary so you can have wisdom in making decisions and utilizing your time. As not all pursuits are wise and will ultimately lead to disappointment.
Living a life where you are pursuing your dreams is so great! That is what I call a fulfilled life. The joy of life is found when you can enjoy the journey to your destination, not so much when you arrive at the destination. Once you have arrived, or reached the mountaintop so to speak, you have nowhere to else to go. Though you have succeeded in accomplishing your dreams, successful people will always have an appetite for accomplishing goals. Successful people need to feeling of success to be a consistent feeling, and that comes with always having goals worth pursuing.
I hope that you will find success on your journey in life.